Here’s a little something you may not know about this blog: though it is about my growing-up project (Year of the Grownup), it also is itself a part of my growing-up project.
I retain a strong number of childish tendencies. Not doing things I don’t feel like doing, for example. Or not following through on things I say I’m going to do. Project Grownup (the blog) was an element of the bigger project that would force me to confront some of those things head on. In the words of Donald Miller, it was an inciting incident*.
Would I be able to post consistently? Show up at all? Could I bear feeling like an idiot while I fumbled around bringing scraps together toward writing and blogging? Could I survive failing at part or all of the project if that’s what happened?
I didn’t know, but I needed to find out. So I jumped in, and kept at it, even when I had to take a hiatus from posting for several weeks, and regardless of how I felt about it along the way. It became an exercise in forcing myself to do things that would be more easy to just give up on. I needed that.
But in the past few weeks I realized something:
I’ve been hiding.
I’ve been hiding and I didn’t know it. I tend to share openly things that others can be pretty guarded about, so it never occurred to me that I might be hiding something. But it turns out I’m a hider.
Experience has taught me it’s easier to not say certain things, even if they’re true and don’t hurt anyone, than to say something true, but uncommon, and endure the awkwardness. Or worse: the judgment.
I think a lot more should go unsaid in the world. Words meant to hurt, bolster oneself at another’s expense, and ones that argue with people who aren’t interested in considering a different point of view are a few of them.
But some things go unsaid because they’re unpopular or thought weird, and that’s not really helping anyone. And even though I’ve long felt that those with oddities should disclose them so that other odd-holders can be more assured in their own, apparently I’m still hiding.
I hide my academic interests because adulthood is a lot like grade school; to learn for fun is weird. I hide what I’ve learned about the world, my changing opinions about it, and my convictions about our (the privileged’s) role in it, because it’s awkward, and because I’m afraid. I hide that I have very close guy friends because Christians think I’m about to jump in bed with them (even though most of my best friends have been guys since I was two years old), and I hide my deep contentment in my infertility because clearly there is something wrong with a girl who has no desire to be a mother.
(There’s more, of course, but that’s enough freak-flag flying for one day.)
Project Grownup has helped me in so many ways. I’ve had to finish pieces of writing and hit publish. It’s pushed me to DO something new rather than just talk about it. But ultimately, I’m hiding. I’m giving you fringe pieces of my life; safe pieces that won’t be contentious or get me into any trouble.
But these pieces are a distraction. A distraction from my primary interests, and a slight-of-hand that protects me from sharing what I really love, but that might be unwelcome. Or unacceptable. Or weird.
I seems time for me, and for Project Grownup, to grow up. To leave the floaties on the shore, wear a daring outfit, and maybe take a trip (or two) around the world.
Project Grownup will eventually become something different altogether; hopefully something grittier, more global, and a lot more personal.
For my part, I still fear putting myself out there, not showing up regularly, and being woefully inadequate. But I’m excited. Excited at the convergence of my interests and projects, excited to learn and share more of humanity’s treasures, and most of all, excited to grow up, and to stop hiding.
*Read more about “inciting incidents” in this post from Donald Miller